The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips

The Tragedy of Arthur

Arthur Phillips

A clever novel about a 'lost' play supposedly by Shakespeare. Arthur Phillips, a convicted forger, gives the 'original' of the play to Arthur, his son, to publish. In a lengthy 'biographical' introduction to the play, which appears as part of the book, we are drawn into the puzzle of whether or not the play is genuine! It's so easy to forget that this is actually fiction and the author is playing games with the reader! Ingenious and unusual.


I have never much liked Shakespeare. I find the plays more pleasant to read than to watch, but I could do without him, up to and including this unstoppable and unfortunate book. I know that is not a very literary or learned thing to confess, but there it is. I wonder if there isn't a larger and shy population of tasteful readers who secretly agree with me. I would add that 'The Tragedy Of Arthur' is as good as most of his stuff, or as bad, and I suppose it is plausible (vocabulary, style etc) that he wrote it. Full disclosure: I state that as the party with the most money to be made in this venture.

  • Art Forger by Barbara A Shapiro
  • Loves Labours Lost by William Shakespeare

Books with similar mood

The 7th Function of Language

Laurent Binet


Nick Walker

The Finkler Question

Howard Jacobson


Tade Thompson

The Way Inn

Will Wiles

Goodbye Lucille

Segun Afolabi

Poppy Shakespeare

Clare Allan


Alexander Garros and Aleksel Evdokimov

See You Tomorrow

Tore Renberg

The Taqwacores

Michael Muhammad Knight

The Etched City

K J Bishop

Yonder Stands Your Orphan

Barry Hannah


Jeanette Winterson

Early Riser

Jasper Fforde

The Golden House

Salman Rushdie

Tenth of December

George Saunders

Little Hands Clapping

Dan Rhodes

The Spoiler

Annalena McAfee

Jude in London

Julian Gough

The Electric Michelangelo

Sarah Hall


Nicola Barker

The Seed Collectors

Scarlett Thomas

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

Claire North

Gods Without Men

Hari Kunzru


Annaleese Jochems

Pig Iron

Ben Myers

The Zafarani Files

Gamal Al Ghitani

The Somnambulist

Jonathan Barnes

The Brilliant & Forever

Kevin MacNeil

The Mirror

Richard Skinner

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books

Walter Moers

Kimberley's Capital Punishment

Richard Milward

There But For The

Ali Smith


Lisa Moore

Here are the Young Men

Rob Doyle

Deaf at Spiral Park

Kieran Devaney

Our Lady of Alice Bhatti

Mohammed Hanif

Yellow Blue Tibia

Adam Roberts


Patrick Neate

Censoring an Iranian Love Story

Shahriar Mandanipour


Victor Pelevin

The Ministry of Special Cases

Nathan Englander

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

Elif Shafak

How To Be Both

Ali Smith

The Humorist

Russell Kane


Tirdad Zolghadr


Jeff VanderMeer

The Acid Test

Elmer Mendoza

The New World

Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz